Took this recipe from a compilation Texas cookbook, "More Tastes & Tales from Texas . . . With Love". It's similar to the traditional Mexican bread pudding (Capirotada) my mom used to make but without all the infusing that went along with her recipe, AND with a Texas Twist: the Sauce. I've made modifications to the recipe by adding pecans or walnuts to the bread pudding and amaretto flavoring to the sauce, either an extract or heating the liqueur til the alcohol is cooked out.
Spread bread slices generously (on both sides) with softened or melted butter, then liberally dust both sides of the bread with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Cut each slice into quarters.
In a square baking dish or a DEEP pie dish layer the buttered bread with raisins, and nuts.
Make a second layer using the remaining bread, raisins, and nuts.
Heat milk. Add the eggs, vanilla, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over the bread until fully covered.
Set baking dish in shallow pan of hot water and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
While the bread pudding is baking, combine sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until creamy. (If using amaretto liqueur for flavoring, heat it long enough for the liquor to cook out.) Ladle over top of the bread pudding, or over each serving of pudding.